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Kwame Brown Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud, Campaign Finance Charge

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Kwame Brown leaves his office for the last time earlier this week after being charged with bank fraud. He resigned a short time later.  
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Kwame Brown leaves his office for the last time earlier this week after being charged with bank fraud. He resigned a short time later.  

Former D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown has pleaded guilty twice Friday to charges in two separate courts.

In the morning, he pleaded guilty to felony bank fraud in federal court. Brown resigned earlier this week after initially being charged with misstating his income by tens of thousands of dollars on loan applications, changing $35,000 to $85,000.

The latter charge, a misdemeanor for which he pleaded guilty just hours later, came as a result of the federal investigation into his 2008 campaign.

Brown was choked up as he briefly addressed reporters between the hearings. With tears in his eyes, he apologized to his family and his former colleagues on the Council for his mistakes involving the loan applications. "I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart to all those I let down," he said.

Brown was also defiant. He told reporters that he did not improperly use or steal any campaign funds from his 2004, 2008 or 2010 campaign.

For all the rhetoric, many seemed less than impressed. FBI special agent Ronald Hosko put it bluntly at a press conference late Friday afternoon, saying "The sense of entitlement amongst local leaders in D.C. has to stop."

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen didn't mince words either, with his opening statement that read, "Once again, one of D.C.'s leaders has gone astray."

Today's guilty plea comes after former council member Harry Thomas Jr. was sentenced to 38 months in prison for stealing government funds earlier this year. Federal prosecutors are continuing to probe the 2010 campaign of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

Brown resigned June 6 and apologized for his actions, saying he made some very serious mistakes in judgement. 

Just one day later, Brown was charged with another count, this one related to the federal investigation into his 2008 campaign. The three-page misdemeanor charge accused Brown of making an unlawful cash contribution expenditure to poll workers.

Brown will be sentenced for the felony charge Sept. 20. As part of the plea deal, he won't spend more than six months in prison.

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